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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jan 31, 2011 6:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Pigpen

Though Pigpen was too ill to sing at his last show (6/17/72), he did get to play organ on the first Stella Blue:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd72-06-17.aud.hanno.16470.sbeok.shnf

One audience member recalls: "We wanted to see Pigpen do his numbers, but after a few songs it was obvious something was wrong. For most of the show he was slumped over nodded out and not moving at all. A few times one of the band members would bump him to wake him up, but not much action at all out of Ron."

(Of course, by '78 Keith would be much the same way! Only in his case it seems to have been the drugs & boredom, not severe illness...)

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Jan 31, 2011 6:58pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Pigpen

Crikey. Another show I went to that I can't remember diddly-squat. I do recall being overwhelmed by the Hollywood Bowl though. :)

(Of course, by '78 Keith would be much the same way! Only in his case it seems to have been the drugs & boredom, not severe illness...)

You've piqued my curiosity. Has anything ever been written about that boredom? What caused him to lose interest? The musical direction? He didn't like the sand in Egypt?

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Poster: dark.starz Date: Feb 1, 2011 7:15am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

Don't confuse musical boredom with allergic reaction to adverse medications. Keith was injesting an improper mixture of varying substances, some controlled, some adverse. Keith is the greatest Grateful Dead Pianist of all time.

I saw Pig only once, 08/24/71 at the Auditorium Theater Chicago. He was positioned on stage left, a rather large white sandwich board on the stage in front of his keyboard read "Music is Live and Well".

He had a case of beer on the stage floor behind him and was pounding them down. I recall somewhere @ the second set, Pig fell backwards off his keyboard bench and wasn't seen for an hour or so as the quartet plowed into a unique trifecta of That's it for the Other One > The Other One > Me and My Uncle > The Other One > That's it for the Other One, reprise.

Mezmerizing to say the least. I also recall these uniformed dudes named "Andy Frains" attempting to keep the audience controlled and in their seats. Eventually Phil walked up to the microphone and said "you wanna get up and dance? ok, tell them Phil said it was ok", at that moment Jerry breaks into a rippin Bertha and the crowd was up and rockin in the beautifully plush and elegant confines of The Auditorium Theater.

Ah, the old good days, we will not see them in this light again.


This post was modified by dark.starz on 2011-02-01 15:15:05

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jan 31, 2011 9:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

"Don't confuse boredom with allergic reaction to adverse medications.Keith was "injesting" an improper mixture of varying substances,some controlled,some adverse".

What I find confusing is your seemingly intimate knowledge of Keith's mental state and drug habits.I'm going to guess that you never met the man ,so I wonder what would make you see fit to comment on those aspects of his life,and comment so stupidly.What would a proper mixture of varying substances be,what does "controlled"have to do with anything,and what is an "adverse" medication?


This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-02-01 05:14:58

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Feb 1, 2011 11:47am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

That Other One suite you "remember" is actually from 8/23/71. It's commonly mis-dated. Might want to make a note of it, Rob.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Feb 1, 2011 12:47pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

Serious question: I saw this and thought it was a joking response to a CLIFF post (aka "Rob" by some), since I hadn't seen Rob (wordsmith) around lately...but, I were wrong. Curious--is Kman's first name Rob, which I find ironic, or is this another poster you happen to know, or am I just completely off-base on all this? It's hard to keep up...

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Poster: cosmic charlie dupree Date: Feb 1, 2011 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

Love the esoteric nature of the questions being asked (really... I mean it!). Even though I lurk religiously every day, I thought CLIFF was Dennis, and had no idea k-man could also be dark.starz. Truly, there are 'circles within circles' of insider knowledge in this corner of the web.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Feb 1, 2011 3:18pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

It's probably best not to worry about it too much. Let's just say that you're on the right track.

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Poster: Skobud Date: Feb 1, 2011 5:07am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Auditorium Theater 08/24/71

You are so full of it...You were not even a zygote when Pig was alive, much less when he played.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jan 31, 2011 9:12pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

Weir: "Keith didn't really like it here. He was bored with life in general, and he would freely tell anybody that. The darkness came upon him, and it pretty much took control."

Blair Jackson notes that by mid-'78 Keith was completely wasted most of the time - onstage he barely played, and offstage he was surly & dour.
Mountain Girl: "That was one of his goals - to get messed up. He really liked to get trashed."
Richard Loren: "Keith was just strung out, nodding, wrecking hotel rooms, and being really crazed."
Lesh tells a story of how Keith set a hotel room on fire with his lighter while looking for a bottle of pills he'd dropped on the floor...

Lesh: "Keith's playing had degenerated to the point that most of us were simply trying to lose him onstage... Never a paragon of self-esteem, Keith's increasing drug & alcohol use had put him in an almost vegetative state. His musical timing was suffering, and he had developed some annoying habits onstage, notable slavish imitation of Jerry's lead lines, a tic that began to irritate Jerry no end."

Donna: "The tour before we finally left, Keith's and my personal life was so horrible, and in the band as a whole the feeling was that 'the music stinks, every concert stinks.' It just got progressively worse. [In Jan '79 she left the tour early and went home, missing two shows.] Then Keith and I did one more tour, discussing all the way how we could get out of it."

It's also worth mentioning that Keith & Donna had become quite violent. Once they smashed into each other's cars repeatedly at a GD rehearsal, wrecking both cars; Donna also had a habit of destroying hotel rooms.
Donna: "I never went a day without getting drunk...I punched out limo drivers...I would never be able to count the hotel rooms that I completely destroyed...If they didn't have my cleaning back in time at the hotel, I would just freak out and tear everything up... Keith was in a sling from where I'd broken a chair over his arm. I would have my eyes black from where he'd hit me. Once I did half a tour with a tooth missing that he'd knocked out."

So they all agreed in a meeting after the 2/17/79 show that it was time for K&D to leave.

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Poster: hasher Date: Feb 1, 2011 1:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

Excellent commentary as usual LIA.

I've often wondered if Pigpen ever attempted to get any kind of treatment for his illness. Was a liver transplant an option back then? With the disease he had drinking probably wouldn't have been a good idea but according to wikipedia the best prognosis is around 4 years to live. I wonder if the doctors told him he had limited time left and decided to go out partying.

I'm a big Keith fan. It seems like theres not a lot of info out there on his death. Was he at fault in the accident? Was he intoxicated at the time? Was anyone else involved? He and Donna were at least together enough to play some shows in their band.

I think the boredom thing is a great subject to explore. Was he tired of GD songs? The bands repetoire didn't change much from 76 to 79. Was he frustrated with his role in the band? He didn't have a lot of opportunities to solo like he did with JGB in 76. Was it being forced to play an electric piano or a certain style of playing or sound that he wasn't interested in doing? We can tell by his replacements that the electric piano sound was something Jerry was more and more interested in doing. Did these types situations along with working with his significant other drive him to more and more substance abuse as an escape? He obviously wasn't burnt out on all music as he kept playing after the split.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 1, 2011 4:46am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

Pigpen was hospitalized in September '71, and stopped drinking after that. Medically, I don't know how much was done for him. Aside from the Europe '72 tour, he basically spent his last year & a half resting at home, getting steadily weaker. It wasn't much of a party.

I don't know of any interviews with Keith, and don't recall much info on how he felt about anything. Can't give you the details on his death, either. So a lot of your questions are unanswerable...
There was a recovery, though, as he & Donna were content to play together in another band in his last year. Apparently they did well in a smaller-scale lifestyle. Which suggests to me that the Dead environment (or, shall we say, 'rock-star' environment) was bad for him, with the combination of unlimited drugs, uncaring bandmates, and (perhaps) uninteresting music.

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Poster: micah6vs8 Date: Feb 1, 2011 12:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

I've read all those quotes before, but put together it's just heartbreaking. Weir's comment really struck me. KG, it seems, had some vicious demons in him that he was never able to escape from. I can not imagine, having a relationship of any kind with someone who, " ...never went a day without getting drunk.", never mind with one's own spouse. I have read that the domestic violence went both ways. I wonder if he ever sought a doc's care. I wonder if he had a rebirth of Keith the last 18 months of his life. I wonder if he and DJG were able to make peace with each other after treating each other so brutally. I hope so.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 1, 2011 4:44am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

I think it's understandable why they'd stay in that self-destructive relationship...it's not that uncommon. He was wasted, she was drunk, they fought all the time....true Sid & Nancy-style love!
John Kahn said that in late '78, "Jerry caught Keith stealing something inside his briefcase; his drugs or something... Keith would burn me and Jerry out of drugs all the time." So that was Keith's state of mind.
What's less understandable is why the band clung onto them for so long, without even asking them to take a break or anything (that we know of). That's more of a mystery. But, after all, this is a band that already had a lot of experience with self-destructive drug abusers in its ranks; Phil suggests they mainly just ignored it.

Donna later tried to explain her behavior:
"It wasn't the Grateful Dead. It's what success does to your self-image, what it does to the human spirit. It's destructive, and some people can handle it and some can't. The point is, you're out there so long before people who adore you...and you realize you can't live up to their image, so you're in a very strange position. And I'm not even Jerry... And I know the effect it had on him."

But Keith & Donna did stay together, and apparently had a happy life after they left the Dead. She said Keith became healthy from being an absolute wreck, and they played in another band together during his last year. It seems they became more peaceful & reconciled. As she said, "In a way though, we did pretty well: after ten years we were still in love and still married."
So, relatively happy ending, except that he died. After that, she became a born-again Christian.

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-02-01 12:44:17

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Feb 1, 2011 9:02am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

"What's less understandable is why the band clung onto them for so long, without even asking them to take a break or anything (that we know of). That's more of a mystery."

Do you think there was any evidence of this onstage in 1977? I suspect that for the band it was the onstage issues that pushed things over the edge and they don't become a real issue until '78 and not really until the second half. Its not like the other band members weren't abusing drugs at that time as well (he was stealing Jerry and Kahn's stash!!) so it would have been a bit hypocritical to kick them out of the band for drug abuse as long as the performance was not suffering. I guess i don't think the band felt like they were clinging onto to them until the last 6 months.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Feb 1, 2011 12:40pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

I think it was a gradual decline....behavior that might have been annoying at first became unendurable over the course of '78.
Inertia carried the band along (as it often did), and of course none of them wanted to be "cops". Better to sweep things under the rug & hope they cleared up over time. Rational, sober discussion & decision-making was not the band's strong-point! They had dropped Pigpen and TC in the past, so dropping Keith would not have been a radical step, and they were virtually playing without him anyway...but I'm sure nobody wanted to confront the issue.

How early the band did think of dumping Keith, I don't think anyone knows. John Kahn suggested that the JGB folded in Nov '78 because Garcia had had it with Keith, but I'm not sure he's right about that.

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Poster: Diamondhead Date: Feb 1, 2011 10:40am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

Thanks for all the history. It's a sad story, but at least Donna seems to have written a better ending. One nevers knows how the book will be written.

I always wondered if he got tired of the band's musical direction after 1976. He was a jazzy, boogie-woogie sort of guy, and after the retirement, the music seemed to shift and speed up a lot and didn't seem to leave as much room for him. Eyes, LiG, Dancin' come to mind.

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Poster: Zaorish Date: Feb 1, 2011 8:45am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Keith

Interesting, especially since a lot of the 10/78 thru 2/79 shows get high marks from me and a bunch of other heads on the Archive. KG certainly didn't contribute much but there's a lot of great Jerry/Phil work and drumming in shows like 11/20, 11/24, 12/16, 12/19, 1/08, 1/10, 1/17, 2/3, 2/17.

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